Jake Lingwood, who left Penguin Random House's Ebury division in October after more than 20 years, is joining Hachette's Octopus Publishing, to launch a new non-fiction imprint specialised in first-person narratives.
Lingwood was previously deputy managing director and publisher at Ebury, where he published authors including Caitlin Moran, Terry Pratchett, Simon Garfield, Dave Gorman, George Best, Steve Peters, Marie Kondo, Robbie Williams and Yotam Ottolenghi. He announced his departure shortly before Joel Rickett was named Ebury m.d. Rebecca Smart's successor.
Joining Octopus as publisher, Lingwood begins in his new role on 4th February.
Although the new imprint has yet to be named, according to Octopus Publishing the concept behind it is a simple one - that "each book will aim to have first-person experience at its heart". The resulting list will be broad in scope, covering "everything from spiritual memoir to business; from socially conscious polemic to history; from personal stories and the arts, to politics and sport". Octopus added to its description: "Whatever the subject area, each title will have a highly distinctive author voice and the same cohesive values of absolute authenticity, quality and general appeal."
Lingwood is already encouraging agents and authors to get in touch, promising he'll have a name for the imprint by the time he starts. Explaining the rationale behind the new list, he commented: "When I was introduced to the idea of working with the fantastic team at Octopus I immediately saw the huge opportunity of being able to set up a completely new, broad list that reflects where general non-fiction is today. Terms like ‘literary’ and ‘commercial’ feel inadequate now. Instead we want to read well-written books that are authentic, honest, informative and entertaining. Look at Adam Kay’s This Is Going to Hurt – a perfect book in that respect.
"To agents and authors, my message to you is ‘whatever the genre, if it’s in the first person, I would really LOVE to see it’. In the meantime, I promise to come up with a decent imprint name before 4th February."
Octopus Group's publishing director Denise Bates called it "a very exciting time" for the division as it looked to grow and extend its narrative non-fiction publishing. Whilst she praised Lingwood's "superb track record of identifying and publishing bestsellers", hoped to "accelerate growth significantly", Alison Goff, chief executive for Octopus Publishing, added: "Jake’s arrival will add even more strength to our acquisition team and an innovative new dimension to our publishing."
David Shelley, c.e.o. of Hachette UK, commented on the appointment: "I have long admired what Jake achieved at Ebury - he is one of the most creative non-fiction publishers in the business with an exceptional track record behind him. I am really pleased that he will be setting up his imprint within Octopus at this exciting time in its development. Long one of the UK’s leading illustrated publishers, the Octopus team have also recently delivered some significant narrative non-fiction bestsellers with the launch of Aster. Jake’s imprint will add another string to Octopus’s bow and will help it to continue to grow and to deliver excellent results for its authors."